Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.
In 2013, the comprehensive strategic partnership between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Italy continued to deepen and exchanges and cooperation in various fields further increased.
The two countries had frequent political contacts and personnel exchanges. In September, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, President Xi Jinping had a brief conversation with Prime Minister Enrico Letta. In January, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Li Yuanchao met with former President of the European Commission and former Prime Minister of Italy Romano Prodi. In February, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu attended the 36th Governing Council of the International Fund for Agriculture Development and the Roundtable Conference on Agriculture Cooperation Between China and Six Southern European Countries in Rome. The Joint Statement on Strengthening Agricultural Cooperation Between China and Six Southern European Countries was adopted. In July, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Party Secretary of Guangdong Hu Chunhua visited Italy. The two foreign ministries maintained close exchanges and consultation. In October, Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a visit to Italy, where he met with Prime Minister Enrico Letta and held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino.
The two foreign ministers attended the opening ceremony of the fifth Joint Meeting of China-Italy Government Committee and signed the Joint Document of the Fifth Joint Meeting of China-Italy Government Committee. In January and July, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Marta Dassù visited China. In October, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Michele Valensise visited China.
The two countries saw good progress in economic cooperation and trade with an increase in mutual investment and business cooperation. In March, China National Petroleum Corporation acquired 28.57% of ENI East Africa's share.
Cooperation in scientific and technological innovation became more active. In July, China-Italy Textile Research Center was established in Toscana Region, Italy. In November, the fourth China-Italy Innovation Forum was successfully held in Beijing.
Cultural exchanges saw numerous bright spots. In April, the exhibition Renaissance in Florence: Masterpieces and Protagonists was concluded in the National Museum of China. In June, the Early China－Chinese Civilization Series Exhibition I was opened in the Venice Palace in Rome. About 300 people from Chinese cultural institutions and artists attended the 55th Venice Biennale.
Military-to-military relations grew steadily. In July, General Zhang Youxia, Member of the Central Military Commission of the CPC and Director of the General Armaments Department of the People's Liberation Army, visited Italy and met with Defense Minister Mario Mauro. In May, the 14th fleet of the Chinese navy fulfilling escort mission and the Italian fleet exchanged onboard visits in the eastern waters of the Gulf of Aden.
Exchanges at the local level were active. By the end of 2013, there were 60 pairs of friendship provinces/cities/regions between the two sides.
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